MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — An Eden Prairie couple who found themselves at the center of the coronavirus outbreak is back on United States soil as of Monday night.
They’re among hundreds who vacationed on the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship.
Japanese officials say there are 99 more coronavirus cases on that ship, bringing the total to 454.
More than 300 Americans taken off the Diamond Princess have arrived back on U.S. soil, including 14 who tested positive for the illness.
After Eden Prairie couple Amy Ellefson and Ron Hildeen endured a two-week coronavirus quarantine in their cabin.
They faced another hurdle with a 36-hour journey back to America from Japan.
“There were more and more new cases on the ship itself, so it seemed to be not as safe a place as anticipated,” Ellefson said.
“That’s the first of many nightmares. They decided to disembark us from the boat to buses,” Hildeen said.
A military escort took the buses right up to a plane for their 10-hour flight.
“It was a 747 cargo conversion into a cargo plane, nasty plane, all the windows are all gone they’re all blocked out,” Hildeen said.
But their journey back to everyday life is far from over.
Their new quarantine quarters are at the Travis Air Force Base in California, where they’ll be monitored for the next two weeks.
“We’ve gotten no food this morning so we’re starting to get cranky I guess,” Ellefson said.
Just outside their window, signs that life is anything but normal.
“They put a chain link fence around the whole compound that we’re at,” Hildeen said.
With nearly two weeks to go, the couple is already planning their first moments of freedom.
“We’re gonna go there, drink a bunch of beer, and eat a bunch of juicy lucy’s to celebrate our arrival,” Hildeen said.
And they hope that freedom will come right on schedule.